Guest author Taylor Haggins shares her unique perspective as a pagan parent raising kids in the Bible Belt.
Pagan Parenting in the Bible Belt
Being a parent is arguably the hardest job, but being a parent and a pagan while living in the Bible Belt in the southern states of America?
Some would say it’s impossible!
Having a strong support system is key in any family dynamic, however, it is more difficult if you are surrounded by misconceptions of your belief system by your Christian family.
Here are the questions most asked by friends and family; “are you going to rob your children of knowing the love of Jesus?”
My answer? No.
My children have the freedom of their own beliefs and religion in my house.
My two beautiful daughters’ father is Christian. We divorced three years ago and we have an agreement between us that our children will be given the freedom of choice.
He takes them to church on Sunday and my husband and I welcome their curiosity about our path and beliefs.
So maybe the title of this should be Pagan co-parenting in the Bible Belt because that’s what this is.
Tolerance that swings both ways.
“Well do you refuse to answer their questions about Christianity or listen to their stories about what happened at church?”
I grew up in a Pentecostal household. I went to church anytime the doors were open. I was a youth leader and Sunday school teacher. Just because I don’t follow that religion anymore, doesn’t mean I dismiss Christianity.
I’ll even go as far as reading bible stories to my girls because that’s what they want. And that is their choice and mine.
Being Pagan does not mean being ignorant or dismissive of other religions.
To me, being Pagan means finding my place in the world where I am comfortable and feel at peace. The same goes for those who follow any religion devoutly.
In fact, when you begin your journey into paganism, the first question you ask yourself is “what do you believe in and why?” It is a journey of finding yourself and mapping out what you believe is right for you.
Or, my personal favorite, “aren’t you afraid you and your children will go to hell?”
Once again, no. My children are innocent. They believe in Christianity. They go to church, read the bible and love Jesus. So, I’m not worried about their afterlife.
And as far as mine is concerned, also no.
Because in my faith I don’t believe in a heaven or hell as it is taught in the Christian belief system. All Pagans believe in different afterlives and here is mine.
I believe that when I die, I die.
I will be buried and my body will be recycled into the earth. My soul will be reincarnated and I will start my journey in the world once again.
Finding a unique path.
Our job as parents is to provide the best for our children.
And in our own “dysfunctional” way, we are doing the best that we know how to do.
In our home, we don’t involve our daughters in rituals and incantations. This is not Practical Magic even though that is the best movie, in my opinion, of all time. We involve them in different ways.
Easter celebrations start during Ostara. We decorate eggs, plant seeds, and do some spring cleaning! These are ways to celebrate Ostara and it gives the kids a little extra time decorating easter eggs and gives parents some extra cleaning time!
We also still celebrate Christmas with our children and family, we just start it a bit early with Yule. Again, this just gives our girls a bit of extra time to celebrate the holidays.
Our Yule celebration last year was simple because we have a busy schedule and don’t have time to dive into things as elaborately as other Pagans can and that’s okay! Last year we rushed to get the Yule log done and burned it in the fire in our backyard because we don’t have a fireplace.
Parenting is already a difficult job, why make it harder because of differences in religion? So, if you have friends or families with small children and they don’t follow the same religion as you just stop and ask yourself if it matters.
Take a look at the children and see how they interact with their parents. Better yet, see how the parents interact with their children and those around them.
I bet that if you didn’t know what religion they follow, your opinion would change.